Baghdad Says New Group of Spies Have Gone on Trial; No Mention Made of Jews

Baghdad radio said today that a new group of alleged spies has gone on trial before an Iraqi court and that the prosecutor has asked the death sentence for three of them. The radio broadcast, monitored in Beirut, was a review of the press. It did not say when the trial began, how many persons were charged or if any of them were Jews. The “foreign power” for whom they allegedly spied was not identified.

The broadcast said the defendants were accused of sending wireless messages abroad which gave a derogatory picture of the Iraqi economy. The Beirut weekly, Al-Sayyad, published an interview with Sidam Takriti, assistant secretary-general of the ruling Baath Party wing in Iraq, who is believed to be the man in charge of the current anti-spy campaign. He said the spy trials were held in order to “restore the confidence of the citizens in the regime and in the ability of the regime to carry out its decisions.” He added that “many people doubted we would execute them (the spies) for fear the regime would expose itself to a violent confrontation with the forces of Zionism and imperialism.”

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